July 12, 2014

Christians should never park their brains

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19–21)

A neighbor and I chatted about theology. She said that she believed God gave her a brain and she is supposed to use it. In one context, that is not biblical for the Word of God tells us to trust the Lord with all our hearts and not lean to our own understanding, but this does not mean that we park our brains.

I’ve heard Christians repeat theological clich├ęs without thinking them through. Some of these sayings, if using your brain, prove to be almost silly. One example is the idea that God created us because He “needed fellowship” but does God need anything? Those who carefully read the Bible know that God is complete in Himself. He needs nothing to make Him complete. 
Creation was a free choice, not motivated by something missing in God’s life.

The early church did not park their brains. Acts 2 says that, “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching . . .” and as a result their lives were changed and they had “favor with all the people” and “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42–47)

The religious leaders at that time were guilty of parking their brains. Jesus pointed out to them that the things He was doing “bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:36–40)

However, at least one congregation of the early Christian church used their minds. Paul and Silas when to Berea and “these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Because they were willing to check out what they heard, “Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.” (Acts 17:10–12)

This week, a fellow student declared that the Gospel was always to be our motivation for everything, not the Law. However, Paul wrote that “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) He was talking about the Old Testament which is the source of OT Law, words that instruct us and give hope – and those words motivate us to live for God in hope.

My brain is not perfect. I do not always understand what God wants of me, and when I do, it may not make sense if I try to rationalize it. But faith in God is not parking my brain and being mindless. Faith thinks through what I do know about Him. Facts from the Bible, plus details from life experiences inform my mind. Faith is based on solid information that includes thinking about what He asks me to believe. It also includes checking out what others say I should believe by comparing it with what God says.

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